Award of Excellence – “Topanga” (USA)

Title: Topanga
Runtime: 15 min
Country: USA
Director: Aycil Yeltan
Placement: Award of Excellence
Competition: March 31, 2020

Synopsis: Hearing impaired, homeless Gala escapes from a man who continually abuses her. While her life becomes a routine in an abandoned old truck on a mountain road, she is unaware the abusive man finds out where her hiding place is.

One night, after a brutal attack, she finds the strength to stand up one last time and starts walking. She has no clue where this survival walk will end up and change her life forever!

FILMMAKER Q&A – Aycil Yeltan – Writer, Director, Producer

GS: What was the inspiration for your film?

AY: The film was born as  my reaction to the growing numbers of homelessness in Los Angeles and the dangers of being on the streets everyday.  Urgency was wanting to save them.  My imaginative character helped me to search an answer  through the power of art.  

GS: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

AY: The idea was conceived when I was with a group of artists in Russian River, Northern CA. It took me a year to complete the project from start to finish. 

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

AY: The known part of telling a story in a short time is always hard, not using  any dialogs created another layer of challenge  in this film. But the hardest part was playing the protagonist as the actor and serving myself as a director.

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

AY: It was difficult to achieve the film with very little financial resource. I had to limit the locations and give up some of my technical choices and beg almost everyone to help me to make this film. Luckily, I have a lot of friends and they all like my work. 

GS: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

AY: Filmmaking or any kind of art making is an urge.  It comes out of nowhere. A subject or situation starts growing in you and somewhere down the road invades you. At that point you have no choice but telling the story to others. If you have an urge, you need to take a risk.